By Leah Umansky
Game of Thrones
In this story, she is fire-born:
knee-deep in the shuddering world.
In this story, she knows no fear,
for what is fractured is a near-bitten star,
a false-bearing tree,
or a dishonest wind.
In this story, fear is a house gone dry.
Fear is not being a woman.
I’m no ordinary woman, she says.
My dreams come true.
And she says and she is
and I say, yes, give me that.
(Today’s poem originally appeared via The Poetry Foundation/POETRY Magazine and appears here today with permission from the poet.)
Leah Umansky’s first book of poems, Domestic Uncertainties, is out now by BlazeVOX [Books.] Her Mad-Men inspired chapbook, Don Dreams and I Dream is forthcoming from Kattywompus Press in early 2014. She has been a contributing writer for BOMB Magazine’s BOMBLOG and Tin House, a poetry reviewer for The Rumpus and a live twitterer for the Best American Poetry Blog. She also hosts and curates the COUPLET Reading Series. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in POETRY, Thrush Poetry Journal, Similar Peaks and The Brooklyn Rail.
Editor’s Note: Ah, Khaleesi. Who doesn’t love her?! What an inspirational female role model, as Leah Umansky deftly expresses with today’s selection. The poet has taken a pop culture icon (of both the literary and television varieties) and brought her deeply into the realm of poetry, expressing the character’s strengths and struggles in beautiful, captivating lyric. Whether you are an avid fan of the Song of Ice and Fire series (now lovingly known as Game of Thrones, thanks to HBO) or you are unfamiliar with the stories, this is a poem we can all latch on to, can all love. How beautiful Umansky’s Khaleesi is, being “fire-born [and] knee-deep in the shuddering world,” how strong she is as she teaches us that “Fear is not being a woman.”
And may I take a moment to say how awesome POETRY Magazine has become since taking on its newest editor? I can hardly imagine today’s poem seeing the light of day in POETRY’s pages a year ago. And now it shares a home with poets such as CA Conrad and Ocean Vuong; it has finally become a publication that I am excited to read.
Want to read more by and about Leah Umansky?
Leah Umansky’s Blog
Buy Domestic Uncertainties from BlazeVOX [Books]
Thrush Poetry Journal
Buy Domestic Uncertainties from Powell’s Books